Coping with Distractions

I’ll be honest. As I’m writing this, I’m completely distracted as my youngest daughter keeps coming in to tell me she has a stomach ache. This post itself is a distraction from the prep work I should be doing for the Google Learning Institute tomorrow at the Center at Rutgers. The GLI is a distraction from all the other PD I need to prep for and follow-up on.

priorities

I’ve been asking myself lately what distracts me from work. I’ve also been working at prioritizing my workload. My family and I just moved to a new house. (Packing up the house we had been in for eleven years was more of a project than I had anticipated.) I wanted to make sure that during the move, I would not misplace any of the materials I would need for the professional development I would be teaching before the end of the school year. I was kind of successful. I’ve only misplaced the AC adapter for my Blackberry and my patience.

Another distraction. My eldest daughter feels it’s necessary to remind me a dozen or so times that she MIGHT be going somewhere this weekend IF a friend’s mother says it’s okay.

First priority – my family
Second priority – Well…this is were it gets fuzzy. I’d like to say it’s my job. But at this point, my job is so connected to so many things.

Another distraction. The eldest daughter is back again. More information about the possibility of plans. Perhaps a phone call tomorrow will help. (There is always time in the day for my girls.)

So, how do you prioritize what you need to do for work when everything you do is connected and you are connected through your personal learning network? Here are some of my priorities for work:

  • Prep work for PD
  • Twitter
  • Google Reader
  • Diigo/Delicious
  • E-mail – Phone calls
  • Maintaining blogs/wikis/other resources

Which should be at the top of the list? Which should be considered a distraction? A priority?

How do YOU manage all of this? Does anyone have the magic answer? I know I don’t. I’ve been asked many times before how I manage to keep up with it all. I usually respond that I rely on my PLN for support. You get what you give and I try to give what I can. Help me out here.

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Rumors Confirmed – Google Teacher Academy #7 in August

Google Teacher Academy

Boulder, Colorado

August 5, 2009

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Just over 300 educators in the United States have been certified through the Google Teacher Academy and they are gearing up for the 7th cohort this summer on August 5. In order to apply for the Academy you must complete an application including a one-minute video. Both are reviewed by a panel of educators from across the U.S. (Please read some excellent suggestions for your application at Kevin Jarrett’s blog.)

Should you not be prepared to travel to Colorado and you are in the New Jersey area you have another option this July. The CMSCE at Rutgers University has had to pleasure of hosting the Google Learning Institute in partnership with Cue along with fellow GCTs Erica Hartman, Kern Kelley and Jesse Spevack this past March for 40 NJ Educators ranging from 2nd grade through higher ed. We had such an overwhelming response, that we scheduled a second GLI for May 28 (coming up in just a few short weeks) where we will be joined by GCTs Erica Hartman, Andrew Gallagher and Jerry Crisci. But, we still had a waiting list of area educators looking to learn about all the Google Apps and how they can be used to improve teaching and learning.

GWE

Piscataway, New Jersey

July 15 and 16, 2009

On July 15 and July 16, Kevin Jarrett, Kern Kelley and several middle school students from Maine and New Jersey will join me to host a two-day Google Workshop for Educators. This two-day event will take you beyond the one-day fast-paced introduction to Google Apps and end in a proof of concept project. For more information and to register for this event, please visit the Center’s website.

You Can’t Make Everyone Happy All The Time

knowledge

You can try though. And we did. And we’ll do it again on May 28, 2009 for the next Google Learning Institute at the CMSCE, Rutgers University.

expectations

There are a few things that we will plan to do differently. It’s tough to say since the feedback was positive, yet the participants were of two skills sets. (Compare the three comments.)

speed

I’ve had a few days to reflect on last Thursday’s GLI and the discussion that GCTs Erica Hartman, Kern Kelley, Jesse Spevack and I had afterward. I also read the evaluations several times and look forward to speaking with Mark Wagner about moving forward with a possible third GLI this summer. I’ve spent the weekend thinking about the 110% effort I give towards my preparation for a professional development event and that I expect when I go to experience someone else’s presentation I have rather high expectations.
Here’s some PD thoughts  I’d like to share:

  1. Describe your event accurately and stick to the description.
  2. Make sure when you prepare for PD that you have materials that accommodate every level of user. Have some step-by-step literature available as well as resources for delving deeper into the topic.
  3. Prepare for every type of learner. Try to provide printed materials, digital copies of those materials, video tutorial links and additional reading resources as well as any other relevant data you can provide.
  4. It’s always better to have too much prepared than too little.
  5. Make sure you come with a feeling of flexibility so that when technical issues arise, you can go to plan B. (Let’s face it: Have a Plan C and D as well.)
  6. Make sure you take an extra dose of patience with your morning coffee so that you don’t get frustrated with the attendees. They haven’t seen the presentation ten times like you have. They may need more time than you planned.
  7. You may think you are the expert in the room, but always plan that there is someone in the room who knows more than you do. Invite that person to contribute to the presentation. (This will work out nicely for you should you come across something you don’t know or that has changed since the last time you saw it ie. an updated version of software.)
  8. Thank everyone for attending your session / workshop and give them your contact information. The PD doesn’t have to end when the timer rings. Encourage your attendees to take a look at your social bookmarks, subscribe to your blog or follow you on Twitter. Go ahead, give them your e-mail. What’s the worst thing that could happen?

I really do read the comments that people leave on evaluations. I try to adjust and improve my work based on those comments. Please leave a comment if I’ve left something off this list – we’d only benefit from it. Thanks!

Pictures from the 3/26/09 Google Learning Institute
Pictures from the 3/26/09 Google Learning Institute

The Google Learning Institute Comes to Rutgers University

gli

Search, learn, share – the GLI has made it to the East Coast!!!

Brought to you by the producers of the Google Teacher Academy, the Google Learning Institute (GLI) introduces participants to innovative ways Google tools can be used in education. A full day of fast-paced presentations and hands-on activities includes experience with advanced search techniques, collaborative web-based applications, and inspirational instructional strategies. Google Certified Teachers share ways they’ve implemented tools such as Google Docs, Google EarthGoogle Sites, and… even more. Participants who complete the event are given access to the Google Learning Network (GLN), an online community focused on supporting educators as they learn more about the power of Google to drive student learning.

uw-stsig

The CMSCE at Rutgers University is partnering with CUE to host this event for NJ educators.

Scholarships to this professional development event are available from such companies as Keyboard Consultants and Impact Technologies. Just submit this quick application after registering for course # 032609a and you’ll be notified by March 1, 2009 whether you have been awarded one of the available scholarships. (Please contact me directly if you have any questions or you are interested in sponsoring a NJ educator, school or district at this special event.

 

Update to this post made on 1/29/09: A second Google Learning Institute will be held at the Busch Campus Center at Rutgers University on May 28, 2009. You can register for this event by going to http://cmsce.rutgers.edu.